Rufus Matthew Jones (1863-1948)
"No individual in the Society of Friends in recent times has had such a great influence on the thinking of religious leaders throughout the world. None has offered to the layman such a simple and yet such a profound philosophy of life. He preached and practiced a life of service to his fellowmen."
Minutes, New England Yearly Meeting, 1948.
I had no ecstatic experiences, I was subject to no miraculous-seeming revelations, no sharp break occurred in the unfolding steps of a normal and ordinary life....I have few epoch-dates to record and no single Damascus vision. What I do feel sure of, however, is a frequent influx of divine life and power the warm intimate touch of a guiding Hand. I somehow felt all through those college years that I was being prepared for something.
The certainty of God as the stupendous fact of the Universe was steadily rising in my soul. My invincible optimism was born out of that conviction....I do not believe that I was born an optimist. It is the slowly fructifying product of a deep-lying faith in a loving and victorious God. I finished college not on "the shining tablelands to which our God Himself is moon and sun," but with my feet on the road toward the Tableland. I could at least say "Abba, Father," and I could live henceforth confident that Love works, and works triumphantly, at the Heart of Things.
Rufus M. Jones: The trail of life in college, 1929, pp. 135-136.
Another experience came...when I was spending a year abroad after graduation from college. It was at Dieu-le-fit in France near the foothills of the Alps. I was walking alone in a forest, trying to map out my plan of life...Suddenly I felt the walls between the visible and the invisible grow thin and the eternal seemed to break through into the world where I was. I saw no flood of light, I heard no voice, but I felt as though I were face to face with a higher order of reality than that of the trees or mountains...A sense of mission broke in on me and I felt I was being called to a well-defined task of life to which I then and there dedicated myself...I was brought to a new level of life and have never quite lost the transforming effect of the experience.
Rufus M. Jones, "Why I enroll with the mystics," a chapter in Contemporary American Theology, vol. 1 (1932), edited by Vergilius Ferm, pp. 206-7